The Truth of Who I Am

"Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free." -Eckhart Tolle

Where I’m From (Yes, I am a poet, too!)

on May 31, 2013

mango tree

Some truths about me… I wrote this poem a while ago and just reread it. I love the feeling I get from remembering. It grounds me. And it reminds me that the road I have walked on was paved by many.

I am from pressed light blue school uniforms, from Bata shoes, Blue Bond margarine and walking to school with sister and brothers.

I am from the Indian Ocean’s warm, salty waves on the white East Coast of Africa, hot, coastal rain and a breath-taking view of mountains behind houses. 

I am from the mango tree with sticky, drippy, juicy fruit picked off the tree, African violets, and chicken and maize on the braai, the majestic baobab tree, with years of stories to share that can only be imagined.

I am from Sunday picnics on a rocky dam with eldest brother Henry leading the way across a stream on a makeshift bridge and laughter at the dinner table, from aunties and uncles galore, rarely related to me and Mayu my grandmother, in a white sari, digging into my shoulders for support on the walk to church from the Fernandes’. 

I am from the new clothes sewn by Mummy, and the hemmed, and the darned, and the pinned together hand-me-downs and mosquito nets, and the silent company of Daddy while I slept off a fever.

From “keep your elbows off the table” and “do something concrete with your life” and “save, save, save” because money doesn’t grow on trees.

I am from rosary beads. Church on Sunday, ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday, confession on Good Friday, catechism classes, Holy Communion, and the sign of the cross. 

I’m from Dar es salaam and Goa, from samosas, potato chops, sorpotel and roadtrips to the Serengeti and Mo-si-o-tunya and to Harare for shopping and visits with family friends and from travels on and across oceans to stay connected with my past.

From the sweet laughter of a mother who never let down her family because she was never let down by Jesus, Mary and God, the strong shoulders of a father who always had time to play with his five children.

I am from home movies on reels and a projector, watched at family gatherings pausing every five minutes to save the burning reel, a big wooden chest filled with photos of family, a home scattered with pictures and carvings and photos of a childhood so far away and yet so close to the very core of me. 

I am from the hearts of those who have loved me and those who love me now.

The format of the poem is adapted from the work of the poet George Ella Lyon. You can be a poet, too! You can create your very own poem by linking to her website here. If you do create your own, I would LOVE to read it, so please share.

Truthfully yours,

Rhina

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